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Pesticide Emergency Exemption Process Revisions

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On January 27, 2006, EPA published a final rule that revises the regulations governing emergency exemptions that allow unregistered uses of pesticides to address emergency pest conditions for a limited time. These emergency exemptions are authorized by Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). After March 28, 2006, applicants for emergency exemptions must use the new methods and approach described in the final rule.

Purpose of rulemaking

Aided by considerable stakeholder involvement, EPA identified opportunities to streamline and improve the pesticide emergency exemption process. The intent of these revisions is to

All of these improvements can be accomplished without compromising protections for human health and the environment.

Changes to emergency exemption process

The rule makes two primary revisions to the application, review and approval process for specific exemptions (40 CFR 166.2(a)(1)):

  1. Streamlined recertification application: For eligible repeat emergency exemption requests, the revised regulations allow states to submit an abbreviated "re-certification" request. This "re-certification" request cites previously submitted and reviewed data to support their response to an on-going emergency pest problem. These streamlined requests should reduce the burden on states and facilitate efficient processing of emergency requests by EPA for eligible uses.

  2. Redefinition of significant economic loss and revision of data requirements for documenting loss: A new, tiered approach allows an applicant to demonstrate the obvious emergencies more easily, while minimizing data requirements. The thresholds in the tiered approach provide clear, uniform standards to determine the significance of anticipated economic losses, rather than the previous approach of comparing revenues under the emergency to historical variations in revenues for the particular crop and region. Applicants may often submit less economic information to document a significant economic loss under the new approach. EPA's analysis of previous applications using the new economic approach shows that approximately the same number of requests would qualify for a significant economic loss.

Protections for human health and the environment maintained

This final rule does not compromise or alter existing protections for human health and the environment, since the risk evaluation process and requirements in this regard remain unchanged.

Parties affected by this rule

State and federal agencies involved in regulating pesticides and pest management are directly affected. Growers, commodity groups, and extension agents are also key stakeholders that may be interested in the rulemaking.

Effective date and options for applicants

The final rule is effective on March 28, 2006, which is 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Applicants submitting exemption requests that are received by the Agency after publication of the final rule, but before the effective date, will have the option of using the revised approaches for re-certification or documenting a significant economic loss, or using the previous application method and approach. After March 28, 2006, applicants must use the new methods and approach.

EPA kickoff of final rule and new process

For more information about emergency exemptions and how this rule was developed visit the following Web sites:

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